Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
COVID-19 tests will not be required from vaccinated members of the public who want to attend the Independence Day main celebrations to be held at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on 18 April.
It is only those in the VIP and the VVIP area who should be tested and the rest will just provide proof of vaccination at the entrance.
A total of 18 artistes will perform during the Independence Gala at the main venue’s B arena and these include artistes from Matabeleland region.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee on State Occasions met in the city to check on preparations for this year’s 42nd celebrations.
President Mnangagwa will lead the main celebrations that are being held outside Harare for the first time since 1980 and this year’s celebrations theme is: “Zimbabwe at 42: Leaving no one behind.”
This year’s theme dovetails with the Second Republic’s drive towards promotion of national unity, devolution and decentralisation.
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo chaired yesterday’s meeting on behalf of the chairperson of the Cabinet Committee on State Occasions, Vice-President and Minister of Health and Childcare, Dr Constantino Chiwenga.
Other ministers present were, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu, Bulawayo Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube and Deputy Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality, Barbara Rwodzi.
Artistes lined up to perform at the celebrations are Jeys Marabini (Afro Jazz), Madlela Skhobokhobo (Rhumba), Sandra Ndebele (Afro Pop), Chase Skuza (Rhumba), Prudence Mabhena (Afro Fusion), Mani9ne (Zimdancehall), Iyasa (Afro Dance), Mthokozisi Sidubweli (Poet) and LMG (Chimurenga/Umvukela).
Others include Zimdancehall duo Fantan & Levels, Andy Muridzo (Afro Fusion), Sulumani Chimbetu (Dendera), Chief Wenje (Chimurenga/Umvukela), Agatha Murudzwa (Gospel), Bruce Machingura (Chimurenga/Umvukela), Herman (Urban Grooves), Greatman (Sungura) and Mainato (Chimurenga/Umvukela).
During the afternoon on the Independence Day, Songs of Lozikeyi, which blew away delegates at the Dubai Expo last month, will take the stage along with Sandra Ndebele and Jeys Marabini.
In his opening remarks Minister Moyo said there was no need for people to be tested for Covid-19, save for those who will be in the VIP and VVIP enclosure.
“Those who will be coming to the stadium should however, provide proof of vaccination as we want to ensure that the people are protected from the pandemic which is still with us,” he said.
Minister Moyo said those going to State House for the State reception including thee children will be tested while the rest will just provide proof of vaccination.
He said Bulawayo residents and people from surrounding communities should take advantage of the ongoing vaccination programme so that come Independence Day they can join others at Barbourfields Stadium for the celebrations.
“I know that Bulawayo is leading in the number of people who have been vaccinated and those yet to be vaccinated should come forward. Let’s continue to encourage people to be vaccinated so that they don’t miss the big game that is going to take place between Highlanders and Dynamos. That big game will be a crowd puller but we don’t want it to be a super spreader of the pandemic,” said Minister Moyo.
He said on Sunday, April 17, Zimbabwe football giants Highlanders and Dynamos will hold a joint road show in the city to show unity and that independence is for all Zimbabweans.
Minister Moyo said the children’s party will be held at the State House on April 17 and 1 050 children from across Zimbabwe are expected to attend.
“Last year’s children’s party was held at State House in Harare and the President has accepted that the children’s party will again be held at State House but this time in Bulawayo,” he said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Covid-19 protocols will be adhered to during the celebrations.
“We are encouraging people to be vaccinated and also to be wearing their masks as they come to the venue. We will make sure all the protocols such as sanitising hands and temperature checks are adhered to. We however want all Zimbabweans to enjoy their Independence Day,” she said.
She said there is a lot of excitement especially in the Matabeleland region that after 42 years the independence celebrations have moved to Bulawayo.
“This is the beginning of devolution and decentralisation in the spirit of inclusiveness, devolution and decentralisation. This is the second time that the Cabinet Committee is meeting right here in Bulawayo to go through all the preparations. We want to make sure that we don’t leave any stone unturned in our quest ot make these celebrations a big success,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said the committee engaged the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to ensure that there are no power outages during the celebrations.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development will ensure that the road from Khami Ruins, where the independence torch will be lit by chiefs, is spruced up so that those who want to follow proceedings from there can do so.
She said there will be fireworks displays at midnight on April 17, the eve of the country’s independence.
The committee yesterday toured The Natural History Museum, Khami Ruins and Barbourfields Stadium.
On the independence eve, chiefs will light up the independence torch at Khami Ruins, which will be taken to the Natural History Museum in Bulawayo.
The next day, another procession will be held and this time the torch will move through the city centre, Makokoba, Mzilikazi and finally Barbourfields Stadium. There President Mnangagwa will light the Independence flame as per tradition.
The committee said it was satisfied with preparations at Barbourfields Stadium as well as the structural adjustments to accommodate VIP and VVIP delegates and general sprucing up of the main venue.
The army band was busy with rehearsals at the celebrations venue.
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Article Source: The Chronicle